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First American Bank, N.A. v. District of Columbia

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
583 A.2d 993 (1990)


Facts

A bank employee repeatedly parked a bank vehicle in a no-parking zone in front of the bank while making deliveries. The city ticketed the vehicle on multiple occasions, but the employee simply turned the parking tickets over to a supervisor and continued parking in the no-parking zone. The city ticketed and towed the vehicle to an impound lot despite the employee’s protests and attempts to remove dispatch bags full of checks from the back of the vehicle. One of the dispatch bags mysteriously disappeared during the approximately 90 minutes that the vehicle was impounded. First American Bank (plaintiff) sued the District of Columbia (the city) and Transportation Management, Inc. (the towing company) (defendants) for breach of bailment and conversion. The trial court found that the city and the towing company were gratuitous bailees who could not be liable for loss of the bailed property absent gross negligence. The bank appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Belson, J.)

Dissent (Farrell, J.)

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